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Perimenopause, Menopause, and Weight Loss: The Fiber Connection

By | Fact Checked |

Perimenopause, Menopause, and Weight Loss: The Fiber Connection


Soluble and insoluble fiber play distinct roles in promoting health, particularly during perimenopause and menopause. Soluble fiber acts as a sponge, effectively absorbing excess cholesterol and toxins, while insoluble fiber functions as a scrub brush, cleansing the intestinal tract and colon. Both types of fiber are crucial for maintaining optimal well-being. Unfortunately, many individuals lack a well-balanced diet that incorporates an ample amount of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and grains. Consequently, undigested food accumulates in the intestinal tract and colon over time, undergoing fermentation and putrefaction, and eventually turning into toxins. These toxins permeate the bloodstream, contributing to poor health, chronic ailments, and can impede weight loss efforts. To combat these issues and support a healthier lifestyle during perimenopause and menopause, incorporating fiber-rich foods is essential.

What is the connection between fiber and weight management?

It does 4 very special things to aid in weight loss:

1. Fiber helps you reduce caloric intake because it curbs your appetite.

2. Fiber helps reduce the absorption of calories from the food you eat.

3. Fiber-rich foods are low-energy-density foods. This means that you get to eat a lot of fiber-rich food without eating a lot of calories.

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4. Fiber slows down your body’s conversion of carbohydrates to sugar. This helps stabilize blood glucose levels and helps you lose weight.

These four factors make fiber a fantastic ‘secret weapon’ in the fight against fat!

1. Fiber and Hunger

During perimenopause and menopause, a vital hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) plays a crucial role in regulating satiety, preventing excessive hunger and overeating. The exciting aspect is that fiber intake stimulates the production and extends the effectiveness of CCK. By incorporating a fiber-rich diet or supplements, you can experience a greater sense of fullness and satisfaction while consuming fewer calories. The prolonged activity of CCK induced by fiber intake contributes to prolonged satiety, resulting in reduced cravings and an overall diminished desire to eat.

2. The Fiber Flush Effect

A high-fiber diet can bind to calories from protein and fat, helping you lose weight. In a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, researchers set a certain number of calories for subject groups and altered the fiber content. Results demonstrated that fewer calories were absorbed with increased fiber intake. It was found that people who consumed up to 36 grams of fiber a day absorbed 130 fewer daily calories. Over a year, that adds up to over 47,000 calories.

Since each pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories, every time you consume 3,500 fewer calories than you need, you could potentially lose one pound.

3. Fiber is the Biggest Bang for Your Calorie Buck

Fiber-rich foods are low-energy-density foods – in other words, you get to eat a lot of food without eating a lot of calories! For example, a bar of chocolate has more calories than a peach that weighs five times more than the chocolate bar. You will gain more weight and feel less full eating the chocolate than you will the peach. The peach will leave you feeling fuller with fewer calories because the fiber in it takes up more space and makes you feel fuller, for longer.

4. Fiber and Blood Chemistry Stability

In the context of perimenopause and menopause, maintaining balanced blood sugar levels becomes increasingly important. Fortunately, fiber plays a crucial role in mitigating blood sugar dysregulation. By consuming high fiber foods, the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar is slowed down, leading to more normalized blood sugar levels. Additionally, fiber enhances insulin sensitivity, which indicates how effectively cells respond to insulin and reduce glucose levels. Incorporating a high-fiber diet gradually prompts your body to utilize the glucose stored in fat reserves, effectively transforming your body into a more efficient "fat-burning" machine.

Increasing Your Fiber Intake in Perimenopause and Menopause  

  • Eat at least 2 cups of fruits and 2½ cups of vegetables each day. Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber include: beans, artichokes, sweet potatoes, pears, green peas, berries, prunes, figs and dates, spinach, apples and oranges.
  • Replace refined white bread with 100% whole-grain breads and cereals (cooked or dry). Eat brown rice instead of white rice. Eat more oatmeal. Snack on organic popcorn.
  • When eating store-bought foods, check the nutrition information labels for the amounts of dietary fiber in each product. Aim for 4-5 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Add 1/4 cup of wheat bran to foods such as cooked cereal, applesauce or meat loaf.
  • Try a fiber supplement like Fiberus which has 6.5 grams of fiber per scoop and can be added to any food or beverage.

Read more about how to get more fiber

Bottom Line

Fiber plays a crucial role in promoting health and aiding weight management during perimenopause and menopause. Soluble and insoluble fiber support optimal well-being by absorbing cholesterol and toxins, cleansing the intestines, and stabilizing blood sugar levels. By incorporating a fiber-rich diet, individuals can experience increased satiety, reduced calorie absorption, and improved insulin sensitivity. Moreover, fiber-rich foods are low in calories but provide a greater feeling of fullness. Taking steps to increase fiber intake, such as consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and incorporating fiber supplements, can support a healthier lifestyle and contribute to weight loss efforts during this stage of life.

Lisa is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) who focuses on helping women find relief in perimenopause and menopause. Lisa has more than eight years of experience in the health and wellness space. She is also in perimenopause and experiences the occasional hot flashes, some anxiety, and irregular cycles. She is passionate about listening to her body, eating as much of a whole-food diet as possible, and exercising for strength and longevity.